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Intergenerational Programs: Breaking Down Ageist Barriers and Improving Youth Experiences

Sienna Caspar, Erin Davis, Devan Mark Joseph McNeill, Peter Kellett


LINKages, a nonprofit organization, aims to bridge the gap between older and younger generations by building intergenerational programs for youth and older adults. The objective of this project was to explore the influence of the LINKages intergenerational program on: a) older adults’ affect and levels of engagement, and b) youth volunteers’ experiences of engagement and perceptions of older adults. An exploratory case study design was used to address the study objectives. Sixty-five residents from four residential care homes and 87 youth volunteers in the LINKages program participated. Data were collected over 7 months. Statistically significant improvements in students’ perceptions of older adults and their experiences of engagement were found following their participation in the LINKages program. Participation also resulted in positive benefits for residents based on their observed levels of engagement and positive affect.

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Dementia care; engagement; non-pharmacological treatment; nursing homes; therapeutic recreation

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